and it then proceeded to discuss the further question: 'By Bookiu what means can the collection be brought with all proper Hi«om despatch to a state of as much completeness and perfection M„tmm as is attainable in such matters, and as the public service JjTM"^1' may require?'

It was shown that no reliance could be placed upon donations, for the filling up those gaps in the Library which were the special subject of the Memoir. Rare and precious books might thus come, but not the widely miscellaneous assemblage still needed. As to special grants for the acquisition of entire collections, not one of ten such collections, it was thought, would, under existing circumstances, be suitable for the Museum. The Copyright-tax has no bearing, however rigidly enforced, save on current British Literature. There remained, therefore, but one adequate resource, that of annual Parliamentary grants, unfettered by restrictions as to their application, and capable of being depended upon for a considerable number of years to come. Purchases might thus be organized in all parts of the world with foresight, system, and continuity. In the letter addressed by the Trustees to the Treasury, it was stated that, ' for filling up the chasms which are so much to be regretted, and some of which are distinctly set forth in the annexed document, the Trustees think that a sum of not less than ten thousand a year will be required for the next ten years/ in addition to the usual five thousand a year for the ordinary acquisitions of the Library.

The Lords of the Treasury were not willing to recommend to Parliament a larger annual grant than ten thousand pounds, 'for the purchase of books of all descriptions/ but so far they were disposed to proceed, 'for some r««»ry years to come;' and they strongly inculcated upon the Ism""' Trustees 'the necessity, during the continuance of such

grants, of postponing additions to the other collections under their charge, which, however desirable in themselves, are of subordinate importance to that of completing the Library.'

In 1843, an important series of modern Historical MSS., relating more especially to the South of Europe, was purManu- chased from the Ranuzzi family of Bologna. The papers r»D^8m of the Brothers Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, and lewTM" Henry Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, were also secured. Additions, too, of considerable interest, were made to the theological and classical sections of the MS. Department, by the purchase of many vellum MSS., ranging from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries. In 1849, the most important acquisitions related to our British History. About three hundred documents illustrative of the English Wars in France (1418 to 1450), nearly a hundred autograph letters of William III, and an extensive series of transcripts from the archives at the Hague, were thus gathered for the future historian. In 1850, a curious series of Stammbiicker, three hundred and twenty in number, and in date extending from 1554 to 1785, was obtained by purchase. These Albums, collectively, contained more than twentyseven thousand autographs of persons more or less eminent in the various departments of human activity. Amongst them is the signature of Milton . The acquisitions of 18 51 included some Biblical MSS. of great curiosity; an extensive series of autograph letters (chiefly from the Donnadieu Collection), and a large number of papers relating to the affairs of the English Mint.

In the year last named Sir Frederick Madden thus summed up the accessions to his Department since the year 1836:

Book III, Chap. II. History Ok THK Mvseuh Undkr Sir II. Ellis.

Volumes of Manuscripts 9051

Rolls of Maps, Pedigrees, &c 668

Manuscripts on Reed, Bark, or other material . 136

Charters and Rolls 6750

Papyri 42

Seals 442

Book III,
Chap. II.


enrol Sir
II. Ellis.

Tabular View or THE


And he adds:—' If money had been forthcoming, the number To The Mss. of manuscripts acquired during the last fifteen years might Xentviom have been more than doubled. The collections that have 1836 1851 • passed into other hands, namely, Sir Robert Chambers' Sanscrit MSS.; Sir William Ousei.ey's Persian; Bruce's Ethiopic and Arabic; Michael's Hebrew; Libri's Italian, French, Latin, and Miscellaneous; Barrois' French and Latin; as well as the Stowe Collection of Anglo-Saxon, Irish, and English manuscripts, might all have been so united. The liberality of the Treasury becomes very small when compared with the expenditure of individuals. Lord Ashburnham, during the last ten years, has paid nearly as large a sum for MSS. as has been expended on the National Collection since the Museum was first founded.'

The causes wliich at this period again tended somewhat to Growth O* slacken the growth of the Printed Collection have been D*,**tm1110 glanced at already. But during the fifteen years from *8r5"TD'TO 1836 to 1851, it had increased at the rate of sixteen thousand volumes a year, on the average. When the estimates of 1852 were under discussion, Mr. Panizzi stated, 'that till room is provided, the deficiency must in a great measure continue, and new [foreign] books only to a limited extent be purchased.' The grant for such purchases was therefore, in that year, limited to four thousand pounds. In a subsequent report, Mr. Panizzi added, 'that he could not but deeply regret the ill-consequences which must accrue by allowing old deficiencies to con

Book III,

chap. n.

History Of THE Musevw Under Sir H. Ellis.

Sec hereafter,
Chap. V.

Growth Of The Printed Section Of Thelibrarv

SINCE 1852.

tinue, and new ones to accumulate.' From the same report may be gathered a precise view of the actual additions, from all sources, during the quinquennium of 18461850. The increase in the printed books, therefore, although it had not quite kept pace with Mr. Panizzi's hopeful anticipations in 1852, had actually reached a larger yearly average, during that last quinquennium, than was attained in the like period from 1846 to 1850.

The report from which these figures are taken was made in furtherance of the good and fruitful suggestion that a great Reading. Room should be built within the inner quadrangle. Judging from the past, argued Mr. Panizzi, in June, 1852, 'and supposing that for the next ten years from seven thousand to seven thousand five hundred pounds will be spent in the purchase of printed books, the increase .... would be at the average of about twenty-seven thousand volumes a year, without taking into consideration the chance of an extraordinary increase, owing to the purchase or donation, of any large collection. It was owing to the splendid bequest of Mr. Grenville that the additions to the Collection in 1847 reached the enormous amount of more than fifty-five thousand volumes. After the steady and regular addition of about twenty-seven thousand volumes for ten years together, here reckoned upon, the Collection of Printed Books in the British Museum might defy comparison, and would approach, as near as seems practicable in such matters, to a state of completeness. The increase for the ten years next following might be fairly reduced to two thirds of the above sum. At this rate, the collection of books, which has been more than doubled during the last fifteen years, would be double of what it now is in twenty years from the present time [1852].' At the date of this report the number of volumes

was already upwards of four hundred and seventy thousand, Book Hi. At the date at which I now write (January, 1870), the number of volumes, as nearly as it can be calculated, has become one million and six thousand. On the average, JjTM"®111 therefore, of the whole period, the increase has been not less than thirty-one thousand five hundred volumes in every year. The Collection was somewhat more than doubled during the first fifteen years of Mr. Panizzi's Keepership. During the next like term of years, when the department was partly under the administration of Mr. Panizzi, and partly under that of Mr. Winter Jones, it was nearly doubled again. It follows that the anticipation expressed in the Report of 1852 has been much more than fulfilled. Less than seventeen years of labour have achieved what was then expected to be the work of twenty years.

If the other departments of the British Museum cannot show an equal ratio of growth during the term now under review, it has not been from lack of zeal, either in their heads or iu the Trustees. Their progress, too, was very great, although it is not capable of being so strikingly and compendiously illustrated. It has also to be borne in mind that the arrears, so to speak, of the Library, were relatively greater than those of some other divisions of the Museum.

At the commencement of Sir Henry Ellis's term of *«»«"»

OF Til K

Principal-Librarianship,the Natural-History Collections were Natural partly under the charge of Dr. Leach, partly under that "0TM"" of Mr. Charles K6nig. Both were officers of considerable Tu""s' scientific attainments. In the instance of Dr. Leach, certain peculiar eccentricities and crotchets were mixed up in close union with undoubted learning and skill. In not a few eminent naturalists a tendency to undervalue the achievements of past days, and to exaggerate those of

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